Taking in the Good
"I am larger, better than I thought, I did not know I held so much goodness." Walt Whitman
Our minds’are like“Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive ones.”
Our brains are great at helping us discover real or perceived threats. Can we recognize and take in an experience that might be contrary to our usual perception of the grim-the anxious-the watch out?
The answer is YES we can. There is so much good to take in and it begins the wonderful journey to find the so much goodness within.
I am not advocating that we begin to think positive—or negate the negative—but merely pay some attention to what feels positive.
Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist says it so well; “Given the negativity bias of the brain, it takes an ACTIVE effort to internalize positive experiences and heal negative ones. When you tilt toward what’s positive, you’re actually righting a neurological imbalance.”
Here are some ways to allow you to build a better balance and build new neurological pathways.
1. NOTICE a positive experience. What is a positive experience-It can be a small as loving the taste of a good apple, the softness of a scarf, the smile of a loved one-the praise of a colleague-the thanks of a store clerk, the feeling of being cared for. IT is any moment that makes your heart sing—your body relax—allows you to feel connected to your experience in a good way.
2. SAVOR the moment take it in—feel it so that you can remember it! Give it at least 5-10-20 seconds. Breathe it in—make it very real—so that you can allow your memory to store it fully and all the positive hormones can be stimulated.
3. REMEMBER this experience—people spend so much time ruminating about hurts—How about remembering and reliving the good.
FOR KIDS AND TEENS
Taking in the Good is especially helpful to children! If they are too anxious they can’t feel the good and if they are spirited they are into the next thing before they have a chance to bring it into their brain.
At the end of the day encourage your child to remember what they liked about their day; what went right, what made them happy. If they can’t come up with anything—help them remember something very simple-be loving and give them something in the moment to take in as good.